So when I heard that there was a female Danish nurse going to Chad, I have to admit I got a little curious. What would she look like? Just the thought of a Danish nurse sounded exotic to me. I wrote Erling to ask about her and he sent me a picture he had taken of her in Ethiopia from the side. I just remember a big bush of red hair, a cute face and a relaxed attitude. Sarah and I started writing by email, mostly me explaining to her the little I knew of the hospital in Chad. She then told me she was coming to the US to California to visit some friends. She was flying into Los Angeles and her friends lived about two hours away. I asked her how she was going to get to her friends’ house and she wrote back that she’d just take public transport. That gave me the excuse to offer to pick her up from the airport and take her to her friends’ house.
I again remarked her easy going manner, long stride and comfortable clothes as she walked up the gangway from the international arrival terminal. In one of our last emails I’d invited her to go on a trip to the Channel Islands that a friend and I had planned for the day after she arrived. She agreed and in the car we talked and talked easily the whole way to Ventura. What mattered a lot to me is that the conversation early turned to God and spiritual things. At my apartment, she stated she wanted to sleep on the beach. That sounded great to me so we went out and talked around a campfire for awhile before falling asleep. The next day we took a ferry out to the islands where we kayaked, swam and hiked. On the way back, I invited her down to San Diego with me and another friend on a last surf trip we’d planned. She agreed. In San Diego, she tried surfing for the first time and then we continued up the coast surfing at San Onofre and then finally back in Ventura. So it wasn’t until three days later that she finally saw the friends she had come to visit. I was already growing attached to her and suddenly didn’t know what to do. It was Wednesday and I left Saturday for France while she was headed to Chad a few weeks later.
Thursday, Sarah called me to invite me to a Danish dinner she was preparing Friday evening at her friends’ house. I took the opportunity to invite her to join me with a presentation I was making on Chad for vespers at La Sierra University. We had a great time at dinner and her friends let her borrow their Mercedes convertible which she drove us in down to the University. Things went well at vespers except for the brief awkward moment during prayer before going on stage when the person leading called Sarah my wife! After vespers, we were so engrossed in each other that we totally got lost on the small campus before finally finding the car. I knew at that moment that I wanted to marry her, but waited until six months later when we were in Chad to ask her.
September 2003 – Sarah arrives in Tchad
January 2004 – James arrives in Tchad
December 2004 — James & Sarah are married in Denmark
January 2011 – James & Sarah leave the Béré Adventist Hospital in the hands of Olen & Danae Netteburg
June 2011 — James & Sarah’s twins: Adam & Miriam are born in California
December2011 – Adam dies of Malaria in Béré
June 2012 – Moundou Adventist Surgery Center opens its doors
January 2013 – James & Sarah’s son Noah is born
February 2014 — James & Sarah leave the Moundou Adventist Surgery Center in the hands of Scott & Bekki Gardner
October 2014 — Isak is born in California